Young entrepreneurs focus on making a difference, according to study

Young entrepreneurs are driven by a desire for independence, a belief in social good and a commitment to employee happiness, according to new research.

Sage’s global Walk With Me report looked at millennial entrepreneurs in 16 countries and came up with five distinct personas that they fit into. It found that 61 per cent of young entrepreneurs would sacrifice profit to stay true to their values – this rises to 78 per cent in South Africa, 70 per cent in the US and 72 per cent in Singapore.

The survey also uncovered how the millennial business owners feel about work, with 66 per cent saying that life comes first – a figure that is up to 79 per cent in Spain. One in three say that they are driven by a desire to be masters of their own destiny, rather than make money (which 21 per cent admitted was their driving force).

The report came up with five personas that young entrepreneurs align with:

The Principled Planners

This group takes an extremely methodical approach to their work, enjoying carefully planning for success. They have an ambitious streak and never take anything at face value, always asking lots of questions.

The Driven Techies

They love their work and can’t bear the thought of sitting around twiddling their thumbs, they trust in the power and efficiency of innovative technology to stay ahead of the competition. They have a strong belief in technology’s ability to accurately target their existing and future customers.

The Instinctive Explorers

They love the unknown and exploring unchartered territory. They trust their gut instincts and stick to their guns. Having a modern image is important to them, as well as leaving behind a legacy to be remembered by.

The Real Worlders

They’re a resourceful bunch but likely to say that they rely on technology to succeed. When it comes to work and making decisions, they tend to alternate between trusting their gut and taking a more methodical approach.

The Thrill-Seekers

This group is easily bored and always looking for the next challenge but they couldn’t care less about appearances. They work best around others and believe that making a social impact is overrated.

Although some groups think that social impact isn’t important, generally trends from the study show that millennial entrepreneurs do value making a difference. Doing docial good is especially important to young entrepreneurs in South Africa and Brazil, compared to other countries. Whereas in Switzerland, Australia and France, young entrepreneurs said that employee happiness is what gets them out of bed in the morning.

“Millennial entrepreneurs have a huge role to play in the start-up economy and are shaping the modern workplace at great pace,” explains Stephen Kelly, Sage CEO. “But they can’t be grouped together as a homogenous stereotype. Our research shows that they fall into distinct camps with specific hopes, fears, concerns and ways of working. They will be our next generation of business builders, the heroes of the economy, and understanding what makes them tick now stands us all in good stead for the future. That’s true of the people that want to do business with them, buy from them, hire them or create policy that helps them to grow.”


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